Outdoor adventures reopen in WNC

The Coronavirus Pandemic and ensuing shutdown means folks have been spending most of their time at home for the last several months. With travel and leisure opportunities diminished, it may be fair to assume the tourist industry in our region will struggle this summer. But with warmer weather, locals and tourists alike are turning to the outdoors to fill their time and stretch their legs after quarantine. For outdoor recreation and rafting companies in Western North Carolina, this urge to get outside is keeping them afloat. 

Box turtles can live 120 years

Five turtle species reside in Western North Carolina: snapping, musk, and painted turtles are primarily found in streams, lakes, and ponds. The elusive and rare bog turtle is found in the habitat for which it’s named. The eastern box turtle will enter water during dry weather, but it’s largely terrestrial. For that reason, they are the species with which we have the most contact.

Of meth and motherhood: Two stories of addiction, family and recovery

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | Few issues raise as much political ire in Western North Carolina as that of the ongoing drug abuse epidemic. Debates rage over methadone, harm reduction and Substance Use Disorder-linked homelessness at most local government meetings. Everyone has an opinion on addiction and what to do about it. But too often a fundamental truth is missed — those experiencing addiction are importantly, individually, human. 

School surveys reveal lack of internet connectivity

As schools shut down during the pandemic, students were sent home and instructed to tune in online. Chromebooks were loaned out, and teachers began the process of getting material for the rest of the school year online. But for many students, there was still the problem of reliable internet. 

Consortium formed to address affordable housing in WNC

Seven counties in Western North Carolina have the opportunity to band together and receive money for affordable housing through the Southwestern Commission. As of June 15, several counties have signed on to make up the Southwestern NC HOME Consortium. 

COVID-19 cases continues to climb in N.C.

As of June 22, North Carolina had 53,605 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The death toll is now over 1,200 and about 870 people are currently hospitalized. 

Confederate memorials still a monumental issue

For the second week in a row, many small Western North Carolina communities have seen demonstrations in response to the killing of North Carolina-born Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of the city’s police force. 

Against the narrative: WNC protests avoid polarization, violence

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | Type “George Floyd Protests, Police” into your Google images search bar. What comes up? Picture after picture of menacing police dressed in riot gear facing down angry protestors. Brawling. Calls to abolish the police force. Cruisers engulfed in flames. Police stations graffitied with ACAB — “All Cops Are Bastards.” Riots. Looting. Arson. Tear gas. Rubber bullets. Cops shot in drive-bys. Protestors gone the same way. Storeowners beaten to a pulp. 

Graduates, you’ll miss this place we call home

By Liam McLeod • Guest Columnist | To the high school Class of 2020, congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than completing high school and preparing to leave and move on toward what comes next.

It was four years ago now that I was in your shoes, a recent grad with nothing on my mind but leaving my hometown. I can tell you this, enjoy this last summer at home and don’t wish it away. College is exciting and extremely fast-paced. These four years at UNCC have felt like one year at Tuscola, though I’ve grown and changed more than I ever could have in high school. I learned many lessons in my first year of college, but there’s one that sticks out the most to me: our home is unlike any other in North Carolina. 

Life on the road: WNC photographer embarks on adventure of a lifetime

Now 31, Steve Yocum was just 22 years old when he moved from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

He was tired of city life, of doing nothing but going to bars all weekend, every weekend. He wanted to get away, and when the company he’d been working for since high school gave him the chance to move south, he jumped on it. That leap led him to photography. 

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